State College continues to roll, taking a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Staten Island Wednesday for its ninth consecutive victory to tie a team record.
Not only do the Spikes (29-19) lead the New York-Penn League wild card standings, they moved within a game of Pinckney-Division leading Jamestown, which lost 3-1 to Vermont on Wednesday.
Cesar Valera, Carson Kelly and Brett Wiley each had two hits as the Spikes won their third consecutive road game. Valera and Wiley also added two RBIs apiece. Wiley hit a solo home run in the ninth, which proved to be the difference.
Jhonny Polanco (3-2) earned the win and Jeff Rauh notched his fourth save of the season. Staten Island reliever Cale Coshow (0-2) took the loss.
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Andrew Pierce was scheduled to start for State College, but was scratched just before game time with minor shoulder discomfort. Victor De Leon took the mound instead.
The Spikes lost an early 1-0 advantage, but rallied from a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the sixth.
State College struck first off Yankees’ starter Giovanny Gallegos. Steven Ramos, who leads the NY-PL in batting average (.361), began the game with a double to right. After a pitch hit Valera, Luis Perez bunted for a single, which loaded the bases for David Washington, who struck out looking. Kelly then grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced Ramos out at the plate. The Spikes eventually scored when Wiley drew a bases loaded walk that scored Valera from third.
De Leon allowed just a single through three innings, but found trouble in the fourth when Mike Ford (2-for-4) singled home Eric Jagielo from second and a Bubba Jones groundout later scored Yeicok Calderon to make it 2-1 Yankees.
The Spikes four spot in the sixth came courtesy of RBI singles by Luke Voit and Michael Schulze and a tworunsingle by Valera.
Staten Island added a run in the eighth on Michael O’Neill’s RBI double and had the bases loaded in the ninth. Rauh walked the first two batters he faced to plate two runs, but rebounded to fan Jagielo and Calderon to end the game.
Ford, Jagielo (2-for-5) and Derek Toadvine (2-for-4) had multiple hits for Staten Island (19-29), which went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
After six walks Tuesday night, Staten Island’s staff walked six more Wednesday. Coshow pitched two innings and gave up four runs on five hits. He also walked two. Stefan Lopez also walked two in two innings of work and Gallegos and Andrew Benak each walked one.
State College had four RBIs with two outs and went 6-for-18 with runners in position. For the second straight night State College pitchers struck out 11 batters.
De Leon struck out four, gave up three hits and two runs in four innings. Michael Aldrete pitched 2 1/3 innings and struck out three more, but allowed four hits and three runs before Rauh came on to get the save.
In Thursday’s series finale, which begins at 11 a.m., Juan Bautista (1-3) will start for State College and David Palladino (1-2) will take the mound for Staten Island.